October was a very good month: it began with a smile and it ended with a smile. And there was a big smile in the middle as well. On the 12th we picked and pressed the very last grape, and today the last barrel finished fermenting with a final sigh of relief. The 2009 harvest is officially in the bag. What we lost on the swings (chardonnay), we gained on the roundabout (sauvignon) - quantity may be somewhat down, but quality's up, and we're still pretty liquid, so to speak. Last week the whole team tasted the whole lot, fermenting or not, and as usual nobody said too much too loudly (we're a superstitious bunch). But our smiles spoke volumes. And who knows, maybe this vintage will even allow us to bring (yet) another new wine into being...

Can you see the smiley face on this dish prepared by the ***Michelin restaurant in Holland, Oud Sluis, considered by Gault Millau and others to be be possibly the best restaurant on earth? It's always a coup - in the face of all the Grands Crus of this world - for a Languedoc vineyard to be listed in such a high place, and we are delighted that our chenin blanc, Dédicace 2007 has found its way onto their elite wine menu. A thousand blessings on the head of its discerning/democratic sommelier ... and on our importer who brought Dédicace to his attention.

But that's not the end of the Dédicace story: it has done a generational thing this month. The older 2006 vintage won a silver medal from the World Wine Innovation Awards in London, for being so unusually innovative. And they have a point: the South of France is not particularly known for its chenin blanc, and certainly not for a chenin that has been fermented and aged in oak barrels. Completing the circle, the younger Dédicace 2008 (not yet released) was chosen this month by Sud de France to be showcased at the stellar gathering of the luminaries of the wine world in Spain next week: Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Steven Spurrier et al. If anything ever was designed to put a smile on the face of three generations of our chenin, October was it, and Dédicace was its name.

But it has to be said, we're also pretty happy to receive the latest issue (November) of the American Wine Enthusiast, which carried two Rives-Blanques wines in this edition: the chardonnay, Cuvée de l'Odyssée, listed amongst the top 50 of its "100 Best Buy Wines of 2009", and our Blanquette de Limoux, the "Best Buy" great value sparkler of this month.

And now we leave you - with a smile. But we'll be back again next month, unless you would prefer not - in which case, please click on

October 31, 2009



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